Friday, 1 August 2008

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker

Interesting but odd book! It puts forward a good analysis of the types of stories and their links to the hero/myth cycle. And so with a clear Jungian basis for its psychological insights, then it seems to lurch into a anti 60's rant as to this being the reason for the collapse as it sees of traditional stories. This is due to the rise of ego blocking the purpose of stories which is to transform. An example he gives of this terrible switch is that in Moby Dick the "monster" does not transform the hero and wins so under mines its traditional deep function. Yet Moby Dick as evil is only one interpretation. The white whale has also been seen as a metaphor for the elements of life that are out of our control, or God. The struggle is not about conquering a monster but his vengeance against the whale is analogous to man's struggle against fate and things they can't control. Starbuck, the young first mate of the Pequod is the only sailor to want to work with what is rather then be in pursuit goals that being impossible destroy your humanity. It’s no coincidence that he is a Quaker.

Booker ignores that the myth cycle is not a fixed pattern. And makes the same error in analysis that Freud makes, terms that explain internal processes are not generalisable to external processes. For example, my motives for my behaviour in a group are not the same as understanding how the group behaves. One of the criticisms that Jung had of Freud is that becoming a mature sexual being is not the only psychological goal of the individual. In practice, individuals compete for partners, status and growth as much as organisations can be seen in terms of power, function, shadow etc.

He also falls in to the trap of looking at stories from time x and ignores that many contemporary stories of the time would not had exhibited those features he praises. And then he ignores the stories of this period that do have the features he praises!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi, welcome I appreciate the time and effort you are making to leave this comment and I will respond when I can